News Press

New Report: New York’s Life Sciences Industry Thrives Despite Pandemic

April 27, 2021


Katy Feinberg
[email protected]

Jobs and investment in New York’s life sciences industry reached record highs during 2020 and will contribute meaningfully to the city’s economic recovery from COVID-19, according to a new report from the Partnership Fund for New York City.

As an early investor in commercial life sciences, the Partnership Fund has worked closely with state and city government to promote New York’s evolution from a center of basic scientific research to a leader in commercial life sciences. In 2016, the state and city committed $1.2 billion to support development of the industry, providing a catalyst for development of wet lab space for early and growth stage companies, as well as business accelerator and job training programs.

The results have been dramatic in New York City, where jobs increased at a 3.6% annual rate over the past five years – while citywide employment slightly declined during the same period. The average annual earnings for a life sciences employee in the city also increased 67% from $85,000 in 2010 to $142,000 in 2020. Today, the industry accounts for 81,000 jobs statewide.

Industry expansion has also been fueled by private venture capital investment in start-up companies and new product development. Despite the pandemic, 2020 was a milestone year for New York state.

  • Every dollar that New York’s research institutions received from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2020 was matched by 73 cents in venture funding for commercial activity. In 2016, the private match was only 13 cents for every dollar of NIH funding.
  • Private investment in life sciences companies in New York state reached $2.3 billion in 2020, nearly triple the previous year’s investment levels.
  • New York state universities and research institutions attracted $3.2 billion in funding from the NIH; the New York City metro area received $2.9 billion.

During the past decade, the Partnership Fund has committed over $50 million to support the growth of commercial life sciences and was responsible for the city’s first proof-of-concept funding to accelerate the commercialization of academic research. In 2018, venture fund SOSV announced IndieBio, the world’s leading bio-accelerator, would open a New York location with support from New York state and the Partnership Fund for New York City.

“New York’s long anticipated emergence as a global hub of commercial life sciences has finally gained traction, thanks to strategic investment by the public and private sector over the past several years,” said Maria Gotsch, President and CEO of the Partnership Fund for New York City. “We are developing a commercial sector with good paying jobs and strong investment activity that will soon match the impact of our biomedical research institutions. As we look toward our economic recovery from the pandemic, the life sciences sector is a critical contributor to New York’s future.”